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Anadarko is committed to reducing air emissions and doing its part to improve air quality. This includes working with governmental agencies and other stakeholders in developing sound public policy that promotes appropriate and effective regulations, recognizing that oil and natural gas are essential to modern life and critical to the success of our economy. For example, Anadarko supported the State of Colorado’s development of the first-of-its-kind air regulations to detect and address methane leaks.
Effective air regulatory programs must be premised on a strong scientific understanding of the contributing sources and impacts. Anadarko is engaged in several efforts to enhance scientific understanding around air emissions, including regional inventory efforts and several projects with various organizations to gather and evaluate data around emissions from upstream oil and natural gas operations.
Air-quality requirements cover all aspects and stages of oil and natural gas operations. Anadarko meets and strives to exceed these requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). States have their own rules and have been delegated implementation authority by EPA for many federal air-quality regulations.
The following are several examples of federal air-quality regulations that apply to Anadarko’s operations:
- The National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are established by the EPA for criteria pollutants (ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and lead). States are required to develop State Implementation Plans (SIP) to attain and maintain NAAQS in all areas. Within an SIP, states may develop emission limitations for types of sources, including oil and natural gas operations. States also incorporate industry-specific air-permitting programs within SIPs.
- The federal CAA requires EPA to develop requirements for sectors, including the oil and natural gas industry, to control the amount of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) emitted from facilities.
- The CAA also regulates “new or modified sources” under the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) program. There are nine standards that currently apply to upstream oil and natural gas operations.
In addition to the federal requirements, states implement regulatory programs that include reporting, monitoring, permitting and control requirements.
Anadarko strives to continuously improve both the operational efficiency of our assets and programs to improve air quality by reducing emissions. The technologies discussed herein are just a small sample of those that reduce criteria, HAPs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Drilling and Completions
Dual-fuel technologies are evaluated and utilized to reduce emissions during drilling and completions operations. Green completions minimize flaring by allowing wellhead streams to be routed to production facilities earlier in the completion phase. Anadarko also began piloting a drilling program in Colorado’s Wattenberg field using an electric drilling rig, which offers potentially significant emissions reductions.
Bulk Separator Facility Design
Anadarko continuously works to improve tank battery design to minimize impact to the environment. In 2012, Anadarko began installing Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (LACT) units to sell produced hydrocarbons through pipelines as opposed to relying on oil haulers to bring them to the marketplace. Improving tank battery design can reduce the potential for emissions from tank thief thatches, piping and relief valves. These potential emissions are instead recovered and sold directly from a pressurized “Bulk Separator.”
Anadarko has developed designs that minimize flash from separation vessels, installed systems that recover both flash gas and vapors, and equipped tanks with control devices such as flares and enclosed combustion devices (ECDs) to enhance safety when recovery options are not feasible.
Instrument air-driven pneumatic controllers have been incorporated into many facilities and are planned for widespread use in the future. Peer-reviewed studies indicate these controllers reduce emissions associated with control valves previously operated with produced gas. When instrument air is not present and process conditions allow, low-bleed devices are installed to reduce emissions.
Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) is employed at numerous facilities operated by Anadarko. Additionally, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras are employed for tasks such as commissioning of new facilities and equipment and for maintenance inspections, repairs and follow-up verifications.
Alternative Energy Utilization
Greater utilization of electricity at new production facilities has also reduced emissions. Anadarko systematically evaluates the technical feasibility of replacing natural gas-driven engines with electrical motors on pumping units, vapor recovery units and flash gas compressors. Use of solar electric pumps in lieu of pneumatic chemical injection pumps has also helped reduce wellhead emissions. Additionally, Anadarko is piloting an electric frac crew in Colorado and has significantly expanded its use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles throughout its U.S. onshore fleet now comprising approximately 500 CNG vehicles.